Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hauling Ass to Skull Pass - 50K Sage Burner Report

My friend, Funderson made me this card in honor of this race:

And so, for the first half of the race it was my mantra, if you will. I hoped that this 50K would take me 8 hours. There was only one cut-off at 14.5 miles at 11:30, which was four hours after start time.

I digress though, Funderson being the absolutely amazing friend that she is picked up my action at 6:15 and we rolled down to Hartman's. We parked and I checked in, which was kind of mess until they got things stream-lined a bit. We hung at the car across from a group of fellow blasting tunes from their car as they changed and made middle school jokes about one of the group being "69." Familiar faces were all around as people headed towards the start line about 5 minutes until the gun. I LOVE that about a local race, chatting and milling about before the fun begins.

The gun fired at 7:30 on the money and we were off like a herd of turtles. I say this because if you look at the course profile there is a pretty substantial climb/kick in the pants to start things off. I took my rightful place at the back of the pack with Jack Rabbit Bill. We chatted as we scrambled and climbed our way to the top of Rattlesnake. Both of us noted that it was already warm and we wanted to make that cut-off. Hence, "Hauling Ass to Skull Pass," where that m' effin' cut-off was. I passed a few people power hiking up the hills to the top of Rattlesnake and had found a comfortable place as we crested the top of the hill. Out of the corner of my eye something moved and I let out a shout, turning it was just a camera man who laughed and snapped a photo of my backside as I ran down the hill.

I stayed with a lovely gal from Denver for a short time and enjoyed the conversation. This was her first ever race and I told her she better look out because it's like tattoos and traveling and now she'll be hooked! I had my mojo workin' and keep on going. I came upon another Gunnison Valley pal, Tiffany, as we rolled up Josho's and we chatted for a bit then parted ways. At the top of Josho's was the first aid station, but I kept on going as I had everything, but the kitchen sink in my camelback. We rolled up and down and came to the 25K/50K split and I started up the hill on Broken Shovel. Looking down I saw Tiffany and Denver gal and hollered well wishes for their race. Then, I was alone again.

This was the case for quite some time, actually. There were two women in front of me, but WELL in front and this race to me wasn't about going after other people just finishing and competing with myself. I kept moving and ended up passing one of the ladies on Skyline and then along the line the other just before Bambi's. At about two hours in, I hit my first wall, which sounds so odd because it wasn't that far in. There was no question in my mind about continuing, but thoughts of how daunting the remaining six hours appeared started to just seep in. After a little while with these thoughts, I said to myself, "Stop it now. You can do this and you will do this. Look at the day and listen to your feet." Then, the time started to melt away. The day was perfect 73 and windy, but was warm for us high mountain folk after weeks prior in the 40-50's. I came to the next aid station and checked the mileage 11.5, grabbed a handful of peanut M&M's and was off. This was my first time in this portion of Hartman's and was exciting at the unknown trails out in front of me. I made my way up (a major up) 9-0 and then down and around to Outback. Mountain bikers began to slowly trickle from in front and behind and were absolute ladies and gents hopping right off their bikes and well wishing me on my way. As I came down Outback, I saw the next aid station at the bottom of the hill. Then, someone from my left screamed at the top of their lungs and about set me out of my skin...Shamus. Getting my wits about me again and into the aid station, the fellow asked what I needed and I asked if I could fill up my pack. He filled it up and said it looked like I should drink more. I said okie dokie and kept rolling down the road to Skull Pass.

A man came hobbling up the hill and I asked if he was okay. He said he messed up his ankle and was toast, which made me be super conscience of the steps I was taking from there. Onto Skull Pass and started up the hill there was my sweetheart like a mirage. He ran/hiked with me up to the top, gave me some salt sticks, told me how lovely I looked (fibber), and sent me along. Down the pass and back up to the aid station, I grabbed some flat coke and a slice of watermelon and started again. Looking back, I yelled in question what mileage, 17. I looked at my watch, a little under 4 hours. I MADE THE CUT-OFF!

Down the hill and onto Enchanted Forest. A random group of people with lawn chairs at the bottom hooting and hollering made me smile. Rolling up and down through some nice shade and up to Dave Moe's. Shamus was there waiting and filled my water again. He said he'd see me at home as he needed to check the brats. Rejuvenated again, I was up the hill and rolling down. Then, onto Dirty Sock and Buddy Bear, which seemed as though someone had extended them by two fold, bastards. I forced down a almond butter, agave tortilla. As I finished Buddy Bear, I saw the next aid station and heard cheers and my name. I got closer and realized it was Allen Hadley, my local ultra marathoning hero. He gave me a big hug and filled my water. Then, said "Hurricane is right in front of you and she's tired. You can totally get her."...LIES, lies, lies. I said, "Allen, I'm not racing, man. I just want to finish." Allen, "You GOT this!" I said thank you's and took off up Josie's. I finally saw Hurricane like a speck on the horizon up Josie's. Cresting the top of the hill, I ran along the top getting battered by the wind and then slowly came down to Gateway and then started up again. Nearing the top, I came upon Hurricane hunched over and having a rough go with the heat. I stayed with her until she assured me that she was okay. I rolled up and down and up and down to the Water Treatment trail, which was the most dreadful section of the day. I haven't done this trail this spring and had forgotten the MEGA ups this one had. Combining this with the intense heat, I felt as though I was reduced to a smelly heap of crap, but kept running and hiked when I felt that running was just not an option.

After, I made the cut-off my next goal was to not only finish, but make it to mile 26 where Funderson was going to be at the aid station. So, as I was rolling up this fetching massive hill suddenly I saw her hat as a speck on the top of the trail and my heart was brimming. She mentioned if her foot and back didn't hurt too bad she'd be running with me to the end. I got there and filled up my pack again, grabbed a handful of peanut M&M's and a shooter of flat coke. Funderson was filling up her water and was set to jet. This MADE the last bit of the race. She was telling me funny stories from the aid station, making up hilarious songs (to include Douche Canoe to the tune of Duke of Earl, freakin' awesome) and swearing. I swore more in this hour and change than I have in years put together and with each eff bomb I felt power to get to the top of the hill that was Top of the World and Ridge Trails. We came upon a group of fellows that Funderson said had a long night of drinking the night before and had sat for a substantial time at the aid station before making a go of the end. We passed them and chuckled that we chicked the d-bags, which turned out to be the gents from the parking lot making the middle school jokes. Painfully laughing our way, we came down Jack's and cut over to Collarbone, which was just absurdly steep with shot legs. Then, I saw the finish. Funderson says, "Is that Shamus?" I said, "Oh no, he had to go, wait it is." A group of fine friends gathered there for my less than spectacular finish cheering. I would have probably cried if I weren't so tired. A finishing time of 8 hours and 9 minutes and I was/am in utter amazement! If you are in the Gunnison Valley area on a Memorial Day weekend, this is a stellar race with amazing course support and views.

I cannot even begin to believe how lucky I am to have such an amazing husband and friends. I'm not a champion, no awards were accepted, but they cheered, hugged, ran along side, cussed and smiled as though I was. Thank you to you all!

We all parted ways and Funderson had the hook-up with chocolate milk...BLISS. After a bit of a sit, we got into the car and headed for the river. I had visions on Dave Moe's of sitting with a ginger ale in the Gunni and now I was there. It was even better than I had hoped for. Cold water numbing my aching feet and legs, I should have stayed in a bit longer. Came back to the car and a quick strip down and back to the Butte.

I got cleaned up and Shamus and I went into town for a Yeti...BEST.BEER.EVER.

I can't wait for the next one (race, not beer)!

On a side note, here is a photo of my bitchin' calves and tan lines:



Chris K said...

I think you are a Champion Jessie Pants.

And, you are officially studlier than me since I have never done an Ultra before.

Thanks for the tip on the tattoo, I was just about to get one. They go over well at my Fortune 500 company.

Great job. Big ol Congrats.

William said...

Awesome Job! Really nice report. Pretty killer tan lines there. Hope your recovery goes well. A beer and a river soak is the perfect way to begin.

sbrt said...

Nice one Jessie!
I am not sure which is the most impressive, the race or the post run stout. That's a beast of a beer.
Well done JP, I am proud of ya.

JessiePants said...

William - Thanks!
SBRT - Thanks so much! If only shipping beer were easier, I'd post one to you...

Trail Woman said...

YOU are the WOMAN! Congrats!
Your training blogs inspired me to actually run the 30 miles I had been talking about forever. Thank you. You seriously rock.

magbueno said...

Well done Jessie! 50 Km is a very hard distance... what you have done is something great! you have trained a lot, I hope you´ll recover you can keep on training!
Regards. Miguel & Sandra.

giraffy said...

Very nice, love the tan lines!

Greg said...

Great Job! I really enjoyed your race report. I envy your running community because it seems very close knit and supportive. Those trails just sounded like killers so be sure to take care of yourself!

Tiffany said...

Love, love, love the tan lines! You gotta start running in shorts or a skirt =). I finished in 4 hours and 1 minute. I hung out for a few extra minutes with funderson at the last station and that gave me the strenght to finish it up. I will do this one next year - but it might be a couple of years before I tackle to 50K. You are awesome!!!!

P. said...

killer run and killer report. reelin' in the competition, but still taking time to make sure your friend was doing ok in the heat? clearly, you are a class act through and through.


Big Daddy Diesel said...

CONGRATS!!! I am beyond impressed!! You are my hero

PS I use to have tan lines like that due to riding the bike in cold gear

The Green Girl said...

Congratulations, girl! You rocked it.

Love your attitude and I agree, that tan line is sexy!

JessiePants said...

Thanks all, feeling really great!

Trail Woman - your birthday run sounds like it was aid stations, a beautiful thing. Thanks for your kind words.

Miguel & Sandra - Thanks, I'm already back out in the thick of it : )

kate said...

awesome stuff and i'm not just talking about your tan lines!! impressed.